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Overdoses an ongoing issue

Option given for jail move

The drug epidemic and overdoses in Lawrence County are a continual issue to the county emergency medical services.

Lawrence County EMS Director Buddy Fry informed the commission on Tuesday that county EMS responded to six drug overdoses with one death this past weekend, and another four overdoses on Monday.

Fry said that, in his estimation, on average, EMS was responding to more than one overdose per day for the year.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Ballard also mentioned that there has been a recent increase in crack, cocaine and methamphetamine usage in the county, most likely resulting from Vivitrol, a prescription drug often used in opioid addiction treatment that blocks the opioid receptors, leaving a person unable to feel the high from opioids.

Ballard added that Vivitrol does not combat the effects of crack, cocaine and methamphetamine, which has led to the spike in usage of those drugs.

Also, regarding EMS, commission renewed a contract between Cross Management Consulting Services and Lawrence County Commissioners, and a contract between Dr. Benjamin Mack, Medical Director and Lawrence County Commissioners. Fry also told the commission that Mack is donating his services to the county, forgoing $5,000 that the county will save.

Fry, who is also on the Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity Board, talked about having a Lawrence County Government Build Day for the elected officials to help the group build the home it is building in Rome Township as well, which will most likely be in May.

Jim Payne, with the Lawrence County Bar Association, asked commission about a possible raise for the county attorneys. The current rate is $40 an hour for out-of-court work and $50 for in-court work.

The wanted raise would be a $10 increase to each of those.

Commission President Bill Pratt said that issue would be something to look at in 2018, as commission is currently working on the budget set in December of last year. He added that if any money were to come available to use for that, he would let them know.

Bill Nenni, of the Lawrence County Airport Advisory Board, informed commission of the schedule of the tree-cutting project being moved up. He is hopeful bids will be prepared sometime in June with a bid being made toward the end of the year.

During the commissioner’s reports, Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. complimented Dr. Bill Dingus and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation for recently purchasing the Grandview Inn in an attempt to clean up the area.

Commissioner DeAnna Holliday said she agreed and that the move was “a good step in the right direction.”

Discussions on the jail issue continued at the meeting, with Pratt opening up all county office holders to the idea of cutting line items in their budgets to help with the costs involved with a move to the ORV in Franklin Furnace.

Pratt said that office holders have until the commission meeting next Tuesday to present a letter with potential line items that can be cut for the move.

In other action, the commissioners:

• Approved the weekly invoices and certificates as presented by the Auditor’s Office.

• Received and filed the Dog Warden Report dated March 4, 2017.

• Approved one floodplain permit.

• Approved Pratt to sign the release of funds for the Amendment to BF-15 for the demolition program, as requested by Cindy Anderson, CAO.

• Received and referred the request for projects for FY 2017 CDBG Formula Allocation Program. The proposal is for a handicap parking area at Village Hall in Athalia. The village requested CDBG funds from the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization (CAO) for a handicap parking area, which would be a 16-feet wide and 22-feet long to give access for all residents to be able to attend meetings and to vote. One estimate attached to the letter was $2,725 from Pinkerman’s Excavating and Construction.

• Approved and signed the IV-D Contract for DJFS and Lawrence County Juvenile Court from Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, in the amount of $99,984.68; approved and signed the IV-D Contract with DJFS and Common Pleas Court for CSEA Title IV-D Magistrate Services for Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, in the amount of $94,189.96; and approved and signed the IV-D Contract for Jonathan Spoljarik, Process Server for March 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, in the amount of $16,500. All of these were approved at last week’s meeting to be sent to the prosecutor for review.

• Received and filed the correspondence from Brigham Anderson, Prosecuting Attorney, regarding the Notice of Termination of the Liberation Building Lease (Utility Bills).

• Approved Commission President Bill Pratt to sign the Release of Funds notice for the Façade Program for the Allocation Grant (BF-16), requested by Cindy Anderson, CAO.

• Approved four transfer funds.

• Appropriated $235,641 for the seven new sheriff’s cruisers.

Commission also met in executive session with LDJFS Director Terry Porter and LCDJFS Assistant Director Rich Blankenship regarding hire, fire, reprimand.